Ottawa-Gatineau housing starts tick up in February: CMHC

Housing construction
Housing construction

A spike in construction of apartments, condos and other multiple-unit housing projects on the Quebec side of the river pushed housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau up nearly 20 per cent last month compared with the previous year, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Tuesday.

Builders started work on 877 new dwellings in February, a 16 per cent increase over the 754 starts recorded in the same month in 2021, the federal housing agency said.

Continuing a recent trend, new builds in Ottawa fell 25 per cent year-over-year to 491. But that was offset by a whopping 302 per cent jump in the overall number of starts in Gatineau, where multi-unit builds skyrocketed from 79 to 381.

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That surge helped starts of apartments, condos and other multiple-unit projects increase 41 per cent across the region compared with February 2021. Meanwhile, single-detached starts fell by the same percentage, with declines seen on both sides of the Ottawa River.

At the same time, the region’s annual pace of housing starts – a rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – rose for the second consecutive month.

National pace picks up

CMHC said February’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of new builds in Ottawa-Gatineau was 11,698, up 24 per cent over the previous month’s total of 9,409.

Nationally, the housing agency says the annual pace of housing starts in February rose eight per cent compared with January.

CMHC says the seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts came in at 247,256 units for February, up from 229,185 in January.

The overall increase came as the pace of urban starts rose 10 per cent to 222,563.

The annual rate of urban starts of apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects gained 13 per cent to come in at 161,912, while single-detached urban starts increased two per cent to finish at 60,651.

CMHC estimated rural starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,693 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts was 251,579 in February, down from 253,864 in January.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press

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